Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

We Send Them the Money

So Don't Complain, Part V

by R. Cholan

I would like ideas from all who have read this series on how we can move forwards. We really need your help and we can, and should, work together on this...

Let me make the first suggestion.

We should make a list of grocery items not made in Sri Lanka or with ingredients from Sri Lanka, which we can promote.

Part 1 of series

Since I started this series about a month ago I have learned quite a few things about the Tamil Diaspora.

The good news is that there are several, perhaps hundreds amongst us, who have already thought and acted on boycotting not only Sri Lankan groceries, but also Sri Lankan textiles, airline tickets, and other ways in which we send money to the GoSL. This is wonderful.

The bad news is that there are hundreds of thousands of us in the diaspora who are continuing to send their ‘foreign-exchange-dollars’ to the GoSL everyday, with their ‘grocery-purchases’. This is very distressing.

If only the eight-hundred-thousand strong diaspora can act in unison and shun Sri Lankan products and services, we would have won half the battle. But alas, this is not the case right now.

In my interactions with many expatriates here in the US, I have learned that most of them have not even heard of this boycott effort. Mind you, most of my friends are passionate about the Tamil cause, but regrettably many of them still have Sri Lankan-made groceries in their own homes.

This is in spite of the fact that several Tamil websites have been working on it for some time. TamilNation has a dedicated page on this subject.

I don’t quite blame them. I too was guilty until a year ago. I didn’t think that a few hundred dollars in my personal grocery purchases, added to that of the eight-hundred-thousand other expatriates, would amount to a billion dollars (astonishingly, a sum equal to what the GoSL spends on ‘defense’). I also didn’t think about the moral dimension of sending even a few ‘pennies’ to the murderous GoSL.

Let bygones be bygones. We need to take this a step further.

I would like ideas from all who have read this series on how we can move forwards. We really need your help and we can, and should, work together on this.

Here is my email address: rcholan@hotmail.com.

Sri Lankan grocery-exports are the first item that we need to tackle. I am aware of the fact that there are those amongst us who want to take on the Sri Lankan textile-exports, tourism, etc. Indeed, Sri Lankan textile-exports and tourism are big-ticket items and a universal boycott would cripple the Sri Lankan economy in no time.

But, such efforts need to wait until we have dealt with our grocery spending.

WE CANNOT, WITH A CLEAR CONSCIENCE, ASK OUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS IN THE WEST NOT TO BUY SRI LANKAN UNTIL WE OURSELVES STOP BUYING.

Watching Tamils in Toronto buying Sri Lankan exported groceries a month ago has been the most distressing experience for me. This must stop. Right now!

Please feel free to send me any and all ideas on how to deal with our grocery habits.

Let me make the first suggestion.

We should make a list of grocery items not made in Sri Lanka or with ingredients from Sri Lanka, which we can promote. There are several grocery items that are made outside Sri Lanka with ingredients not imported from Sri Lanka. Just two-weeks ago my cousin made murukku for me with a ‘mix’ from Malaysia. It was the best murukku I have ever tasted!

As a parallel effort we should also make a list of grocery items that are made in Sri Lanka or with ingredients exported from there. Brands like MD, Maliban, etc.

Can anyone send me items to be included in the two lists? Publication of these two lists, I think, will get the ball rolling.

Also please feel free to copy the articles in this series and distribute as widely as you can.

This campaign must go on. The lives of our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka depend on it. We must act quickly.

Email: rcholan@hotmail.com

Continued... Part VI